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Mother-child study in Crete- The RHEA study

Manolis Kogevinas (ISGlobal)
Funded by
FP6 EU projects: NewGeneris - Hi-Wate. FP7 EU Projects: ESCAPE, ENRIECO, EnviroGenoMarkers, CHICOS. Other: FAMRI, USA.
The mother-child “Rhea” study in Crete is a prospective cohort examining a population sample of pregnant women and their children, at the prefecture of Heraklion. Pregnant women (Greek and immigrants) residents that became pregnant during one year starting in February 2007 (n=1500).


The aims of the Mother-Child cohort in Crete (Rhea study) are: 1. The evaluation of nutritional, environmental, biological and psychosocial exposures in the prenatal period and in early childhood. 2. The evaluation of the association of these exposures with the development of the fetus and the child, reproductive outcomes, endocrine related outcomes, neurodevelopment, obesity and with the occurrence of chronic diseases including asthma and allergies, metabolic syndrome and endocrine disorders that appear first in childhood but that may perpetuate to adulthood. 3. The evaluation of mother’s health during and after pregnancy. 4. The evaluation of genetic susceptibility and the interactions between genetic and environmental factors affecting child health.


The first contact was done before 15 weeks gestation, at the time of the first major ultrasound. Participants were invited to provide blood and urine samples and to participate in a face-to-face interview. Women were then contacted at the 6th month of pregnancy (questionnaires, urine), at birth (questionnaires, blood, cord blood), one month after birth (depression questionnaires), at 6 months (questionnaires) and urine/hair children (subsample). Infants were examined before one year of age measuring anogenital distance and growth (e.g. weight, length, skinfold thickness etc), and at around 18 months for neurodevelopment (Bayleys). Questionnaires covered a wide range of issues including FFQ, sociodemographic, environmental and occupational exposures, medical history, psychological factors (stress, depression, personality), social factors (social capital). Medical records at birth were collected. Laboratory analyses that have been completed (some in subsamples) include biochemical analyses and thyroid hormones in pregnancy blood samples, cotinine and NNAL in pregnancy urine samples, numerous molecular markers at blood and cord blood at birth (e.g. CALUX-dioxins, micronuclei, PAH adducts etc –see NewGeneris), ongoing analyses of phthalates and PBDEs in pregnancy urine. Limited genotyping is carried out within the HiWate and NewGeneris projects. Extensive use of –omics is planned in the next 2 years within the EnviroGenoMarkers project (EU, FP7). A detailed account of sampels collected, analyses and outcomes examined is shown in the table.

Miembros del grupo de coordinación griego:

Dr Leda Chatzi, Dept of Social Medicine, Medical School, University of Crete (Steering Committee, Local Study Coordinator)

Dr Antonis Koutis, Dept of Social Medicine, Medical School, University of Crete ((Steering Committee )

Prof Evripides Stephanou, Environmental Chemical Processes Laboratory, School of Sciences and Engineering, University of Crete (Steering Committee)

Dr Eleni Fthenou, Dept of Social Medicine, Medical School, University of Crete (Responsible for biobanks)

A detailed account of samples collected, analyses and outcomes examined is shown in the table (click here).

Our Team

Principal Investigator (PI)

  • Emmanouil Kogevinas
    Emmanouil Kogevinas

Our Team